Saturday, March 2, 2013

Former soccer player set to make history as first woman in the NFL

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The National Football League is seeing a first this year: a female is competing in the NFL Scouting Combine, and that female is an alumna from MIT.

After a video of Lauren Silberman kicking an NFL-range field goal started floating around, her friends encouraged her to try out for the regional scouting combine, which gives draft-eligible players not attending the invite-only National Combine the chance to still perform in front of NFL coaches, scouts and general managers.

Silberman will be one of 40 participating in the New Jersey regional on March 2 and 3. If she wows the judges, she could be one of the 21 best players nationwide to attend the Super Regional Combine on April 7 in Dallas.

The 28-year-old New Yorker was a former club soccer player at the University of Wisconsin prior to attending MIT, where she wrote her Master’s thesis about how athletes use video games to enhance their own performance. She later founded a consulting company calledDouble Play Media — centered around her research — that helps athletes use video games for virtual training purposes.

Silberman told she had no idea she was the first female registrant, saying:

"I was actually hoping that the 2012 historical milestone rule, to allow women to play, would prompt more women to attend tryouts this year. But for me, what’s important is to finally have a chance to fulfill my dreams by trying out to play in the world’s most competitive football league."

Although Silberman’s chances have been described as “pretty much nonexistent,” she says she’s looking forward to perfecting her technique and has been working on nailing her sixty-yard kicks. Through her research at MIT, she also claims she hopes there is a way she “can contribute and strengthen the league” regardless.

We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for Silberman, who can hopefully make history this weekend. Either way, she’s paving the way for female athletes and that, in itself, is groundbreaking.


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